The January transfer window is a crucial one-month period for any club as it provides them with an opportunity to reassess their squads and bring in required reinforcements. However, the short duration and timing of the window makes it difficult for the clubs to acquire quality players, as most sides are not willing to sell their players in the middle of the season.
In recent years, most of the big-money transfers during this window have turned out to be major disappointments - Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona and Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United being prime examples. Hence, clubs are now reluctant to splash the cash in the winter window and prefer to wait till the summer. This has led to an increase in loan deals and budget signings in January.
Nevertheless, the 2020 January window was a busy one for the Premier League clubs. While some clubs such as Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur roped in high profile players such as Bruno Fernandes and Steven Bergwijn respectively, the others relied on low-key and budget signings.
Here we look at three low-key transfers that took place in this January window.
#1 Aaron Mooy
Aaron Mooy has been one of the most underrated midfielders in the Premier League this season. The Australian, who moved to the Amex Stadium on loan from Huddersfield Town last summer, has been in fine form and has played a very crucial role in Brighton's new style of football under Graham Potter. After an excellent display in the first half of the season, the Seagulls have now signed him permanently on a three-and-a-half-year contract for just £5 million.
The 29-year-old boasts an incredible vision and is a sublime passer of the ball. Although the midfielder lacks neck-breaking speed, he can create space for himself through intelligent positioning. Mooy has utilized his skill set to the fullest this season and has been the creative mastermind in the midfield for the Seagulls.
Given his quality and importance, Brighton have managed to acquire a top-class player for a very cheap price.
#2 Cedric Soares
Arsenal snapped up Cedric Soares on loan from Southhampton with an option to sign him on a free transfer in the summer. Although this transfer left a lot of people surprised, it made sense with Kieran Tierney and Sead Kolasinac out with injuries and Hector Bellerin still finding his feet after a long-term injury. It was high time Arsenal signed a new full-back.
Soares is a modern-day full-back with excellent ball-playing abilities and can drive forward with ease. The Portuguese has thus far made 16 Premier League appearances in the present campaign, providing an assist.
Besides his attacking abilities, he is also a good tackler and excels at breaking the opposition's play with some crucial interceptions. The 28-year-old has averaged 2.8 tackles, 1.2 interceptions and 2.8 clearances per game in the Premier League this season. Additionally, the full-back is highly versatile and can play on either flank which will allow Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Bukayo Sako the opportunity to play in their preferred positions.
Furthermore, if the full-back fails to succeed at the Emirates, there will be no significant financial hangover over his move. However, if he proves to be successful, the Gunners will be able to sign him permanently on a free transfer at the end of the season.
#3 Mbwana Samatta
Aston Villa signed Mbwana Samatta from Genk for a reported fee of €7 million as they look to replace their big-money summer signing Wesley Moraes, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season after sustaining a knee injury.
Despite spending heavily in the summer, Aston Villa currently find themselves in the relegation battle and one of the major reason behind their failure is the lack of quality in front of goal. However, Samata may prove to be the answer to their problem.
The 26-year-old possesses quick pace and excels at making dangerous runs behind the opposition defences. The Tanzanian international was in a red-hot form for the Smurfs last season and managed to score 32 goals in 51 games across all competitions. Surprisingly, it has not taken him much time to settle in English football as he managed to score for the Villains in his league debut against Bournemouth.
Although it is too early to predict if the former Genk forward will be successful at Villa, considering his goalscoring heroics in Belgium, it looks like the Villains have signed a top-quality striker at a very cheap price.